Seattle Genetics is a company that has been operating since 1998. Dr. Clay Siegall is the founder of the enterprise, and also the current president and CEO. Clay says that he founded the company on the principle of scientific innovation, extensive research, and most importantly, the desire to help other human beings. The company has been around for the past two decades, and in this time, they have managed to achieve more in medical research than many other bigger biotechnology and clinical trial companies. Clay was interviewed about his background, Seattle Genetics and the way forward and this is what he had to say.
First, he was asked what inspired him to venture into biotechnology. He states that when he was a teenager, his father was diagnosed with cancer. He watched for five years as the father tried to fight the illness, but unfortunately, he succumbed when he was 24. By the time his father lost the battle, Clay had realized that the therapies which were used to treat cancer at the time were not very friendly to the patient. He had therefore decided that he was going to dedicate his life to helping future patients have a chance with the illness. He had already graduated from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor of Science in Zoology.
He specialized in genetics and got a Ph.D. in genetics from the George Washington University. His first job was with the Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Institute. He also worked for some time with the National Cancer Institute. He admits that these are jobs that gave him a lot of the experience that he needed to make his dream a reality.
Seattle Genetics has entered into multiple licensing agreements with companies such as GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, and Genentech. These and other public and private funding campaigns have raised more than $300 million to help them carry out their research. Clay also coordinated the company’s first IPO in 2001. The first of their ADC therapies was approved by the FDA in 2011 and is currently in use in more than 65 countries. Clay hopes that the other 20 ADC drugs they are developing will also get approved.